A short trip to Cornwall's stunning Lizard Peninsula
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- Activity, Adventure, Family, Budget
If you only have a few days to spend on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula, follow my advice on where to stay, where to find the best Cornish pasty and which stunning sights you must see
Sadly, we only had a few days to explore the Lizard Peninsula. However, this was long enough for us to get a feel for the area, to soak up the wondrous coastline, and to realise that we needed to return for longer next time.
The coastline on the south coast is, without doubt, stunning. Rugged and rolling, the cliffs are topped with lush thick green grass. Having visited Australia and driven the Great Ocean Road, I honestly believe these two coastlines are comparable in the scale of their natural beauty. The National coastal path provides access to hundreds of miles of walks, many of which overlook deserted beaches, the only disappointment being these are completely inaccessible.
The Lizard Village is the end of the road when travelling south, any further and you’ll be in the sea - beautiful bluey-green sea, but sea nonetheless. The peak summer holiday months see endless tourists passing through the village, all coming to get their photo taken at the southernmost point. In contrast, I can imagine it feeling very bleak and isolated during the winter. So, I suggest you try your hardest to come on the shoulder of the season. We were there in the middle of September, and while there was still a constant trail of tourists, it felt friendly, with the locals all taking their time to make you feel welcome - and the added bonus of clear blue skies and sunshine.
Hungry and thirsty? The Lizard Village has two pubs within the centre to provide sustenance for those weary from walking. The Witchball (www.witchball.co.uk) appeared to have a more modern menu, but you’ll need to book a table as it’s on the petite side. For a more traditional menu, you should head for The Top House (www.thetophouselizard.co.uk) in the main village square which serves good pub grub and also offers b&b accommodation.
Our base was Henry's Campsite - an entirely laidback campsite, reminding me a little of being in the hippy fields at Glastonbury. Tucked behind cottages within the village centre, there are no strict rules here. I loved the trust owners Ron and Jo have in their guests - the campsite shop is housed in a barn and, if you want something, pick it up and take it to the farmhouse to pay. It’s a simple thing, but surprisingly rare these days. Any questions about the area? Just ask at the farmhouse, and while you’re there buy one of Jo’s fresh baked scones, yummy. Oh, and you’ll never be lonely here… there are chickens who roam free, all rescued from battery farms – they’re surprisingly friendly (could be read as nosey) and yes, the rooster is an early riser.
If you do one thing during your stay at Henry’s, make sure you hire a brazier and cook dinner al fresco. Wash it down with a jug (or two) of Old Rosy cider from the farmhouse while watching the sun sink into the sea - regardless of the pitch you get allocated, the gently sloping site will reward you with a breathtaking view.
On your travels across Cornwall you’ll notice that Cornish pasty shops are two a penny. One pasty shop which has certainly earned its stars is Ann’s (www.connexions.co.uk/lizardpasty) on Beacon Terrace, but be prepared as you need to get your order in early! We got there in the middle of the afternoon, yet still had to place an order for two pasties, which were ready for collection 45 minutes later. I suggest that once you’ve collected your pasties, jump straight in the car and head to the National Trust’s Kynance Cove (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-thelizardandkynancecove), a five to ten minute drive away. It’s the ideal place to enjoy your pasty with stunning views and then take a brisk walk down to the beach to work it off. For the brave, take a dip in the majestic mermaid pool.
End the day at the quaint Cadgwith Cove watching the fishing boats come in from a day out at sea and unloading their catches. Like a picture postcard, this little cove village has bundles of charm and a generous population of seagulls – mainly due to the fisherman who chuck them all the crab shells. Do as the fishermen do and head to The Cadgwith Cove Inn (www.cadgwithcoveinn.com), right by the beach, and enjoy a pint of local ale. Then finally, before you head off, pop into the fishmongers down the road for the freshest fish and crab you can ever imagine.
One last recommendation, especially if you’re travelling with children, is Roskilly’s Farm (www.roskillys.co.uk) – home to the cows who produce the delicious Cornish organic ice cream. Visit the herd and see the farm working, including milking time, all for free.
The Lizard Peninsula really is a beautiful part of Cornwall. At times it feels a little like stepping back in time, to a time when a sandy beach and an ice cream shop were all that were needed to have a tip-top holiday. Personally, I don’t see why we would want it any other way. Do you?